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Applicants are eligible for the Master in Urban Studies if they have completed a 180 ECTS academic bachelor degree or its equivalent in geography, planning, architecture, history, criminology, political science, sociology, demography, media and communication studies, cultural studies, or a similar discipline. Additionally, proof of fluency in English is required and should be sought well in advance of the application window.

Prospective applicants with a degree from a field not mentioned above should contact us. Please explain how your degree has helped prepare you for the Master in Urban Studies and provide more information on the specific coursework you have undertaken (including transcripts of your course units). Students who have not completed their undergraduate degree at the time of applying but will do so before the enrolment deadline are also eligible. In such cases offers of admission are conditional, meaning that successful completion of an undergraduate degree must be demonstrated before the offer of admission can be finalised.

Application deadlines

The Master in Urban Studies has two application deadlines each year: 1 March (for non-EU and EU-students) and 1 June (EU-students only). Applications can be submitted until 12:00 CET (Midday Brussels time) on the deadline day. No applications will be reviewed until the application window closes.

Application process

The application process consists of two steps.

Step 1: All applicants need to register for and complete the online application module. Use the following URL to request an access code for the online application module: 


Following registration, you will receive the access code via e-mail. Use the following URL to access the online application module: 


Enter your e-mail address and access code.

The Master in Urban Studies application committee will review all applications. Applicants are selected on the basis of the following criteria: relevance of the previous degree, and proof of fluency in English. As the Master in Urban Studies is a challenging programme, we particularly encourage students with a high grade average to apply. In order to get a sense of the profile and interests of applicants, we also ask applicants to submit a motivation letter.

Step 2: Only those applicants selected will be requested to enroll at either the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) or the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

The full application instructions are included within the online application module. Read through all instructions and information provided in the module. This will help you avoid any mistakes and make the application process as efficient as possible. Please note that various documents will need to be uploaded within the application module and before the application deadline. The required documents include: diploma from previous studies; grades list from previous studies; motivation letter; 2 recommendation letters; proof of English language proficiency; copy of valid passport; passport-style photograph.

Note on languages: the Master in Urban Studies is an English language programme. However, the diploma and marks list will be accepted in English, Dutch, French, or German. If either the official diploma or official marks list is in another language, then two versions must be submitted: the original and a certified translation into English, Dutch, French, or German. The movation letter as well as the recommendation letters must be submitted in English.


The total fee for the Master in Urban Studies includes the tuition fee at either the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) or the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) as well as a fee for administrative and logistical costs. The administrative and logistical fee includes the expenses for local and international site visits and most excursions that are part of the curriculum. It does not include the cost of housing, food, visas, certain excursions, or other expenses. Fees are per academic year.

The 2017-2018 total fee for EU students is approx. 1500 EUR. Non-EU students cannot apply for the 2017/2018 academic year, but are welcome from 2018/2019 onwards. Fees for non-EU students will be published early 2018.


Stefan Decorte

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
WE, DGGF, 6F332
Pleinlaan 2
B-1050 Brussels

Advanced Master in Political Economy

A joint degree between Georgetown University and Solvay Brussels School (ULB)

⚑ Join our upcoming information evening on March 27th!

Learn more about the programs, the participants profiles, the faculty, the admission process and the job opportunities, introduced in details by the Academic Directors.


Program overview

Why a degree in political economy?

You’re interested in the reciprocal relationship between politics and markets.

This requires a deep understanding of the behavior of non-market agents (such as legislatures, government agencies, judicial institutions, NGOs and activist groups, the media), and their interactions with traditional market agents (companies and consumers). Political economy develops systematic frameworks for understanding such behaviors and interactions. A key asset of the political economy toolbox is that it allows for a deep understanding of the determinants of public policy effectiveness both at the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels.

You’d like to understand how non-market agents influence the functioning of the market.

For instance, emission standards affect virtually all aspects of automobile design and manufacturing, and thereby the competitive advantages of automakers around the globe. Political economy provides the tools to understand elections, lobbying, information provision, and institutional specificities shape actual emission standards, which may thus differ from the socially optimal outcome.

As  a corporate executive, you will understand how to approach the government and tackle the constraints they are facing. As a government agency, you will grasp how companies operate and how to design better regulation.

Why the joint master degree by Georgetown University & ULB-Solvay Brussels School?

The Brussels-Washington joint degree in Political Economy is an innovative one-year program combining the strengths of two internationally-renowned institutions. Upon successful completion of the program, two degrees are awarded, one by Solvay Brussels School and one by Georgetown University.

Learn from expert decision-makers in Europe and North-America and explore:

  • The specificities and differences between the approaches taken on each continent
  • Their impact in various geopolitically crucial regions around the world
  • The complex relationships with other actors within this global governance architecture

Program objectives

The objective of the program is to prepare the next generation of economists to rigorously analyze both the economics and the politics behind the key policy questions of the 21st century.

The focus on political economy reflects the view that evaluating and addressing global and local economic challenges also requires an understanding of the institutions and political settings in which such challenges arise.
The program aims at providing students with a balanced and attractive mix of solid theoretical knowledge and exposure to hands-on practice through the inclusion of both faculty and experts in the respective fields.

By the end of this Advanced Master, you will be able to:

  • Gain a firm understanding of the incentives and behavior of economic (consumers, firms) and political agents (legislatures, government agencies, judicial institutions, NGOs, activist groups, the media)
  • Explore the technological and political constraints that shape government interventions
  • Cultivate a deep understanding of the reciprocal relationship between politics and markets
  • Design better government regulations by the investigation of corporate stakeholders and their motivations
  • Build your own professional network by engaging with a plethora of trainers, experts, consultants and policy-makers part of the academic and alumni community of both institutions.

2 Degrees Awarded

  • “Masters of Arts in Political Economics” from Georgetown University
  • “Advanced Master in Political Economy” university certificate delivered by Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management – Université libre de Bruxelles

Apply now

Georgetown University in Washington, DC and ULB-Solvay Brussels School are among the best educational institutions in their class in the United States and in Europe according to the Financial Times. Their Masters programs attract candidates from around world. The two institutions share a set of core values rooted in the collaboration between academics and practitioners to deliver a high-quality education.

Georgetown is located in the US capital, the seat of policy-makers and business leaders. World leaders regularly visit and students have the opportunity to meet and engage with those driving political, social, and economic events around the world. Students benefit from a wide array of opportunities at various international organizations, embassies and consulates, trade and consulting groups, and non-governmental institutions.

Located in the capital of EU, the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is strategically seated near the European Commission and NATO headquarters. Students have the opportunity to interact and participate in international business and policy in a cosmopolitan atmosphere where the active exchange of ideas and multicultural perspectives is intrinsic to student life. Access to summits, international corporations – even free French courses – fosters a student-practi-tioner dynamic supplementing this world-class education.

Your profile

The Georgetown/Solvay (Advanced) Master in Political Economy seeks:

  • Highly-motivated students willing to take up global political and economic challenges
  • Students with an outstanding academic background, intellectual curiosity and the discipline to succeed in a very demanding environment

Eligible applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  • A 4-year BA (in continental Europe: 3-year BA + 1 or 2-year master) or MSc or equivalent degree.
  • Eligible degrees include, but are not limited to, Economics, Political Science, Statistics, and Mathematics.
  • Work experience is not necessary, but a 2+ year experience strengthens your application.
  • A solid background in economics and quantitative methods is a prerequisite.
    • An undergraduate degree in economics is not a requirement for admission to the Program. However, substantial coursework in economics is one factor that tends to strengthen an application for admission to the Program. Since economics is a highly quantitative subject, substantial coursework in mathematics, probability and statistics, and other quantitative subjects is another factor that will strengthen your application. At least two courses in calculus, as well as courses in intermediate microeconomics and intermediate macroeconomics, are specifically required for admission to the program.
    • Evidence of aptitude in quantitative disciplines such as quantitative GRE score.
  • Minimum GPA 3.0 on 4.0 (U.S.) scale where available.
  • TOEFL score of at least 100 IELTS score (7.0) also acceptable. The test is waived if a previous degree has been obtained at an English-speaking university.

Admissions will be based on the candidates’ academic and/or professional background, and motivation. Proficiency in English necessary.

Apply now

Program content

Program courses are subject to change.

More about the courses

Program framework

This full-time masters degree consists of 10 courses for 60 ECTS in the EU and 30 credits in the US, split over threeterms and completed within 12months.


The program will kick off with a preparatory non-credit bootcamp in mathematical methods in the second half of August. The objective of this course will be to fill any gaps in the student’s knowledge of basic mathematical techniques commonly used in economic analysis and applied statistics.

Core courses

Students will take the core courses in macroeconomics, microeconomics, political economy and data analysis in the fall term in Brussels. Core courses are taught by faculty members of Georgetown University and Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management.


After the completion of the core courses, students will choose six elective courses (3 in the Spring term and 3 in the Summer term). Elective courses are jointly taught by a faculty member of one of the two institutions (SBS-EM in the Spring term and GU in the Summer term) and a policy expert or practitioner.

*Travel and accommodation costs of the optional student trip are to the charge of the participant.

Apply now

Faculty information

The program boasts an unrivalled cast of highly-experienced practitioners and regulators shaping the evolution of economic policies around the world, and top-quality academics from Georgetown University and Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, including:

• LaurentBouton (Georgetown University)
JulieCarey (NERA)
Anne Hall (Treasury & Bureau of Economic Analysis)
JonLanning (CFPB)
HoracioSapriza (FRB)
FrancisVella (Georgetown University)
PaulZimmerman (FTC)

• TomásGarcíaAzcárate (Spanish National Research)
GeorgKirchsteiger (Université libre de Bruxelles)
Kai-Uwe Kuhn (Charles River Associates, University of East Anglia)
AndréSapir (Université libre de Bruxelles, Bruegel, European Systemic Risk Board)
PhilippeWeil (Université libre de Bruxelles)

More about the Academic Directors

Micael Castanheira
Academic co-Director of the Advanced Master (Solvay Brussels School)

Micael Castanheira is a senior research fellow with the Belgian National Science Foundation. He works at ECARES and is a professor at Solvay, where he also teaches microeconomics and political economics. His main research topics include the political economics of collective decisions, and of reforms. Micael is a contributor to leading scientific journals, such as Econometrica, The Journal of the European Economic Association, The Economic Journal, Games and Economic Behavior, International Economic Review, International Tax and Public Finance and the Journal of Public Economics. He is also a member of the scientific board of the Price Observatory of the Belgian government and the National Bank of Belgium, and has worked as an external expert for several companies and institutions (a.o. the World Bank, and the Bertelsmann Foundation)

Franco Peracchi
Academic co-Director of the Advanced Master (Georgetown University)

Franco Peracchi is the Director of Masters Programs in Economics and a Professor of the Practice at Georgetown University. He is also a Fellow of the Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) in Rome, Italy. After receiving a MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the LSE, and a PhD in Economics from Princeton University, he taught at UCLA, NYU, Universidad Carlos III and the University of Rome Tor Vergata. His research interests include econometrics, labor and health economics, and the economics of social security and pensions. He is currently working on a variety of issues including long-term effects of growing up in wartime, cognitive decline among the elderly, distribution regression and approaches to model selection.

More about the professors

Job opportunities

Graduates of this master can look forward to job opportunities with a faster advancement potential in a broad range of institutions and companies, including:

  • International institutions (EC, WTO, World Bank, IMF, OECD, NATO, ETC, etc.)
  • Multinational enterprises (lobbying and consulting firms, investment banks, etc.)
  • Governmental institutions (regulatory agencies, central banks, foreign affairs, etc.)
  • Global NGOs & Think Tanks
  • Higher Education (through PHD programs)

In order to successfully grow in your working life and make the right choices for your career, it is fundamental to define your goals and have the tools to achieve them. The Solvay Brussels School’s career service will help you in building your career thanks to its strong connection with the business sector and acces to a wide network of alumni.

Apply now

Practical information

If you wish to join the Joint Degree with Georgetown University in August 2018, please follow these steps of the admission procedure:

  1. Complete and submitthe online application form together with the required documents, on the web site of Georgetown University. The following are necessary for a complete application file (see also the Georgetown University web site for further details):
    • Online Application Form
    • Non-refundable application fee
    • Academic statement of purpose (max. 500 words)
    • Two Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic)
    • GRE exam (GMAT not acceptable)
    • Resume/CV
    • Official Transcripts (all prior institutions)
    • Minimum GPA 3.0 on 4.0 (U.S.) scale where available.
    • TOEFL score of at least 100 IELTS score (7.0) is also acceptable. The test is waived if a previous degree has been obtained at an English-speaking university.
  2. Receive feedback on your eligibility or additional queries from the programme’s management team.
  3. If feedback is positive, you will receive an official letter of admission from Georgetown University.
  4. Please note that you will have two weeks to finalise your registration by paying a deposit of $2000.
  5. Contact the program manager of Solvay Brussels School, who will assist you with the documents needed for your Belgian visa process.

Application deadline:
Non-EU students: May 31st 2018 (recommendation related to visa procedures)
EU students: July 15th 2018

Merit-Based Mobility Scholarships for EU students:

EU candidates applying before ​April 16th​,​ 2018 can ​apply for ​one of two 2 ​mobility ​scholarships​, worth 10.000$ each.

Decision on whether the scholarship is granted to the student or not comes from our Academic Committee after ​being ​admitted into the program.

These scholarships will be ​awarded by a jury who will base their decision on (1) your application essay, (2) your academic record and (3) on the date of your application. Therefore, early applications are encouraged.

: Non EU-citizens must be aware that student visa procedures may take up to 3 months, and therefore check the timing and conditions of their nearest Belgian Embassy before considering applying after May 2018.

Additionally, non-EU applicants must take into consideration that getting a student visa for Belgium implies the obligation to prove their sufficient and regular means of subsistence (€650 net/month in 2016-2017) or their sponsor’s. If they can’t, Solvay can support them if the applicant transfers the requested amount covering 9 months on a school deposit account (which will be redistributed on a monthly basis to the student as soon as a Belgian bank account has been created). For more information visit this link or contact the nearest Belgian embassy.

What makes us different

The Advanced Master in Political Economy offers:

  • An international experience at the heart of global policy-making decision powers, with full immersion in both Washington DC, host of all US institutions and Brussels, capital of Europe and host of all European institutions.
  • Courses instructed by academics and practitioners who are leading specialists in their field.
  • On-site meetings that guide students through the inner-workings of international institutions, such as at the European Commission, the World Bank, the OECD, the IMF and various think tanks.
  • A combination of frontier training in formal and quantitative political economy, in addition to concrete policy cases.
  • Access to the wide and active alumni networks of Georgetown and Solvay.



For more information on Georgetown University please click here and on Solvay Brussels Schools please click here.

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